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POETRY: A Magazine of Verse 

THREE IRISH SPINNING SONGS 



A young girl sings: 
The Lannan Shee* 
Watched the young man Brian 
Cross over the stile towards his father's door, 
And she said, "No help, 
For now he'll see 

His byre, his bawn and his threshing floor! 
And oh, the swallows 
Forget all wonders 

When walls with the nests rise up before." 
My strand is knit. 

"Out of the dream 
Of me, into 

The round of his labor he will grow; 
To spread his fields 
In the winds of Spring, 
And tramp the heavy glebe and sow; 
And cut and clamp 
And rear the turf 
Until the season when they mow." 
My wheel runs smooth. 

*The Lannan Shee is the Faery Mistress of Irish peasant romance. 

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Three Irish Spinning Songs 

"And while he toils 
In field and bog 

He will be anxious in his mind — 
About the thatch 
Of barn and rick 

Against the reiving autumn wind, 
And how to make 
His gap and gate 
Secure against the thieving kind." 
My wool is fine. 

"He has gone back 
And I'll see no more 
Mine image in his deepening eyes; 
Then I'll lean above 
The Well of the Bride, 
And with my beauty peace will rise! 
O autumn star 
In a hidden lake, 

Fill up my heart and make me wise!" 
My quick brown wheel! 

"The women bring 

Their pitchers here 

At the time when the stir of the house is o'er; 

They'll see my face 

In the well-water, 

And they'll never lift their vessels more. 

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POETRY: A Magazine of Verse 

For each will say 
'How beautiful — 
Why should I labor any more! 
Indeed I come 
Of so fair a race 

'Twere waste to labor any more!' " 
My thread is spun. 

II 
An elder girl sings: 
One came before her and said beseeching, 
"I have fortune and I have lands, 
And if you'll share in the goods of my household 
All my treasure's at your commands." 

But she said to him, "The goods you proffer 
Are far from my mind as the silk of the sea! 
The arms of him, my young love, round me 
Is all the treasure that's true for me!" 

"Proud you are then, proud of your beauty, 
But beauty's a flower will soon decay; 
The fairest flowers they bloom in the Summer, 
They bloom one Summer and they fade away." 

"My heart is sad then for the little flower 
That must so wither where fair it grew — 
He who has my heart in keeping, 
I would he had my body too." 

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Three Irish Spinning Songs 

ni 

An old woman sings: 
There was an oul' trooper went riding by 
On the road to Carricknabauna, 
And sorrow is better to sing than cry 
On the way to Carricknabauna ! 
And as the oul' trooper went riding on 
He heard this sung by a crone, a crone 
On the road to Carricknabauna! 

" I'd spread my cloak for you, young lad 

Were it only the breadth of a farthen' 

And if your mind was as good as your word, 

In troth, it's you I'd rather! 

In dread of any jealousy, 

And before we go any farther 

Carry me up to the top of the hill 

And show me Carricknabauna!" 

"Carricknabauna, Carricknabauna, 

Would you show me Carricknabauna ? 

I lost a horse at Cruckmoylinn — 

At the Cross of Bunratty I dropped a limb — 

But I left my youth on the crown of the hill 

Over by Carricknabauna!" 

Girls, young girls, the rush-light is done. 

What will I do when my thread is spun ? 

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